The internet can often be a double-edged blade. It’s an incredible tool for sharing and communicating, of course, but with that also comes caveats – if you’re not vigilant, personal information can sometimes be easily tracked or exposed. Want to better take control of your privacy online? Here are five simple tips that can help.
Update privacy settings on apps and websites
Privacy settings can typically allow for a significant reduction in personal information being tracked, but apps and websites sometimes update or modify these settings with minimal notification. Check your settings on a platform once or twice each year to ensure your privacy is being maintained as best as possible. The National Security Cyber Alliance offers a set of links directly to privacy settings on a variety of popular websites/apps here.
Enable multifactor authentication (MFA)
More and more platforms are offering options for multifactor authentication (sometimes referred to as “two-step verification”), an excellent way to provide an extra layer of security to an account. By enabling this feature, another program or device must be used to approve logins, thereby making it significantly more difficult for anyone unintended to access.
Use a VPN
In some locations, such as when at home or using a public network, a virtual private network (usually shorted to VPN) can ensure a significantly more secure connection. A VPN encrypts your connection to the network, keeping your private information secure even on networks where it may otherwise be at risk. ITS encourages and recommends using the Etown VPN anytime, anywhere. The Knowledgebase has more information about this VPN software here.
Check privacy policies
Social media platforms can often encourage users to share every aspect of their day and their life. It’s important, then, to remain vigilant about exactly what you do and don’t choose to share – keep in mind what the information or pictures you post might be able to reveal to those tracking data. Geotagging and geolocation, the social-media-prevalent practice of attaching a specific location to an image or post, are best left disabled.
Adapted from EDUCAUSE post: https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2020/1/january-2020-take-ownership-of-your-privacy.